"LINCOLN, Neb. – As combines pop up in fields across the Midwest, the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Corn Growers Association encourage farmers, as well as local residents and visitors, to take a second for safety in rural areas this harvest season. To help promote farm safety, “National Farm Safety and Health Week” kicked off September 16 and will run through September 22. This week-long farm safety promotion has taken place every year since 1944 and occurs during the third week of each September.
The theme for this year’s farm safety promotion is “cultivating the seeds of safety.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agricultural sector is one of the most dangerous industries in America. Over 2 million workers are employed full-time in production agriculture, which does not account for part-time help or family members who also live and work on farms. In 2016, there were 180 reported fatalities of agricultural workers, which equates to 21.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. While “National Farm Safety and Health Week” will help remind farmers, rural residents and visitors about the importance of farm safety for seven days, it’s also important for people to be cautious on or near farm operations throughout the year.
“All farmers are excited to gather their crops from their fields, but harvest can be a dangerous time, especially if we don’t practice safety,” said Dan Wesely, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Morse Bluff, Nebraska. “There are a lot of moving parts during harvest – combines, tractors, grain carts, trucks, augers and people. It’s important everyone understands their individual responsibilities, remains alert and has an emergency action plan in place, in case something goes wrong.”
Farmers typically have a narrow window to complete their harvest work. Therefore, it’s important farmers take care of themselves to ensure a safe and productive season. “A well-rested farmer is a safe and productive farmer,” said Dave Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “It may seem counterproductive, but farmers should take short breaks during the harvest season. They’re often operating large equipment and working long hours throughout the day. By getting enough sleep and eating healthy meals, farmers will be alert and engaged during the harvest process.”
Farmers are not the only people who should be cautious during the harvest season. Anyone who may be visiting or traveling through rural areas should be mindful of increased farm traffic on roads and highways. Harvest equipment should be visible with front and rear warning lights, as well as slow moving vehicle emblems to notify motorists of approaching machinery. In rural areas, parents of small children should also develop safety rules to prevent youth from playing on or near harvest equipment." Read More